We take the term ‘individual’ very seriously; we don’t just pay lip service to it. We mean it in this way: Every commission is produced only once for, and in individual agreement with, the client. And this, exclusively by hand. That’s more than just a guiding principle for us, it’s an affair of the heart.
We believe that a unique work stands apart from trivial mass production through its quality and appearance, and that the room it’s designed for reaches a higher level. The feeling of creating something unique exclusively for the people and their sacred space makes us proud and inspires us. With every new project, all the processes are always performed specially for the client’s commission. From the joint discussion that flows into the preparation of an original design to the further preparation such as careful selection of top quality local woods. Everything leads to the moment when the work is carved out of the wood. We follow this process anew for every commission so that at the end we can apply our uniqueness plaque with its own archive number to the hand-carved masterpiece. Only then is it finished and ready to be handed over. When we speak about hand-carved, we really mean that it comes from the heart.
We love to create custom made sacred art
- Stations of the Cross
- Relief works
- Church interiors
Individual commissions are our passion. Having direct contact with people, listening to them, joint discussions, bringing ideas to life in a design that will ultimately capture an idea in a masterpiece in wood. That’s what we live for. It is precisely what we want to do and create.
Everything begins with a loose exchange of ideas, impressions and visions. This first familiarization usually takes place with the help of architectural plans, 3D renderings, photos, inspirational images or with rough concept designs. We are happy to take part in committee meetings via video conference or provide advice by telephone and e-mail at any time. As soon as the general conditions, for example scope, style and dimensions, are established and a joint artistic direction has been defined with the project managers, we begin our sketching process. Scanned and sent by e-mail, our pencil sketches can be easily presented and discussed. During this design phase, there is no hurry from our side. Review processes take time and important decisions should not be rushed. Design changes according to the clients wishes and a critical examination of even the smallest details are a matter of course for us. What counts for us is the uniqueness of the design and a harmonious overall image in the sacred space. We work this way because of our conviction.
Once we’ve gained an initial impression of the intended location, a particular style and artistic direction have been defined, the process of capturing these ideas in a concept begins, bringing our thoughts to life. It’s an exciting moment every time.
Our intentions can be best described using the Stations of the Cross as an example. Traditionally, the Stations of the Cross with its mostly 14 stations as relief carvings is placed along the main side walls of a church. Because every sacred space is unique, we consider it our role to design these Stations in perfect harmony with the architectural concept of the interior. The spectrum of design possibilities for an individual commission is limitless. Therefore, very individual or special variations can be implemented such as the “Scriptual Stations” in which some stations differ from the traditional Stations of the Cross.
During our design process, we concentrate particularly on an overall concept for the stations. As can be seen from our four example photos, the detail in the image plays an important role that applies to all the stations, i.e. whether the Stations of the Cross should focus more on Jesus Christ and his personal suffering or whether a more scenic “snapshot” should be captured that includes the other players and the surroundings. These are crucial questions: by omitting the landscape, the artistic expression is deliberately focused on the interaction of the main figures in a station. Unusual perspectives, ornamental frame or free composition of the figures also form part of our considerations. Above all, it’s important to us that the design fits to the spatial situation and that information about the hanging height, depth of relief or text solutions is also taken into account in the sketches. If desired, we can color our sketches to present a concept for the painting. We’re also happy to send a variety of stain samples for one-tone or multi-tone stained Stations of the Cross to define the perfect combination for the overall composition of the church decor.
Once the design phase is complete and the sketches have been approved by the client or committee, our job is to transfer the sketches into three dimensionality. The basis of quality in a carving is undoubtedly the choice of wood. We put our trust in local wood from sustainable forestry and place emphasis on careful dry storage over many years to avoid inner tension caused by moisture. And to reduce the internal tension to a minimum for decades to come, we glue several layers into a block. With large statues, the initial approach to the form is achieved with a chainsaw – an extremely comfortable advance over the ax that was used previously for this rough shaping. With smaller sculptures, one simply uses a wooden mallet and broad chisel. In addition to a great deal of experience and talent, a wide range of very diverse carving tools are needed to work the countless small details into the wood. Tried and tested over centuries, they come in varying widths and forms dependant on the stage of the work. For finer work steps, rasps, files and sandpaper are used. After countless hours, the time comes when the woodcarver declares his work complete. Depending on the concept and the client’s wishes, we finish natural sculptures with beeswax polishing or hand them over to our talented painters and gold gilders.
Every sculpture commissioned from ALBL Oberammergau is a custom-made, hand-carved original artwork: one of a kind – from sketch to final masterpiece.
The maxim for our woodcarvings is perfect proportions, gentleness, serenity, peacefulness and authority in order to create something that is timeless.
Top-quality service for your project
Agreeable contact and smooth, trusting communication are very important to us. We’ll be happy to invite you to get to know us personally in Oberammergau or in a live presentation via video conference. Our clients enjoy complete and all-round service for their projects. We offer church board members, art committees and partners for religious interior decoration comprehensive customer care. What distinguishes us, especially in the concept phase, is being a passionate sparring partner. Even in the very early stages of the construction phase, we support you when it comes to questions about design, feasibility and cost estimates for interior fittings. For every subject, we’re happy to provide individual image material or even work up preliminary sketches for initial concept ideas to give architects and liturgical consultants the best assistance in tendering situations. The start of every project is marked by an interview and our sketch process for final acceptance. Over the course of the project, we keep you up to date with photos of the intermediate stages.
Best all-round service for our clients
- Active project management
- Visualization with sketches
- Participation in concept phase
- Support with tendering
- Live video conferences